Hand Knotted Rugs vs. Hand Tufted Rugs
Having a handmade piece decorate your home is the epitome of elegance. Do you know what makes a valuable rug valuable? Cost is often determined by how desired or sought after an object is, but part of intrinsic value of a good rug is in how it is made. All rugs are not the same. While it may be easy to differentiate between rug that is handmade from machine made but not many people are aware of the differences. And it becomes even more difficult to distinguish between hand-tufted and hand-knotted rugs.
These two techniques involve different skills and weaving techniques which affects the rugs’ quality, texture, design complexity and price. Not only that, those rugs also differ in length of survival and time to manufacture it. Let’s go a little more into detail:
Hand-knotting is the original, traditional and most desired technique for weaving rugs. A Hand-knotted rug, also referred to as Oriental rugs, is a rug that is made by hand on a specialized loom. Cotton threads are strung up on a loom and the fibers are woven and knotted through by hand. Every single knot is tied by hand and a single hand-knotted rug has thousands or millions of knots tied individually to a foundation. An experienced rug weaver can only do about 10,000 knots in a single day, and so making a single rug will require a very long time and effort. After the knots are tied, the raw rug is shaved down giving a finished detailed look with distinct back and front; the front is the plush and detailed side.
Traditionally, the knotting technique used differs from region to region and is carried out by specialized artisans, as it is extremely intricate technique that requires a great level of expertise. The quality and very often the cost of a hand-knotted rug are determined by the number of knots per square inch. The more knots per square inch the better and higher quality the rug is.
This time-intensive creation process makes hand-knotted rugs more expensive than other handmade products. Hand-knotted rugs, because of their construction, are also quite durable. Since hand-knotted rugs are weaved with unique design and painstakingly, it is only important for it to be treasured and maintained. When properly cared for, they can last for decades. Many rugs outlive their owners! This means making sure that it is professionally cleaned on a regular basis and repaired when necessary.
Hand tufted rugs are hand woven rugs but they are not entirely done by hand like hand-knotted rugs. Essentially the weaver prepares a rug backing with a design, and then punches tufts of wool or cotton yarn into it with a tufting gun, which works like an oversized needle. When the rug is finished, the back is given another foundation, called scrim, applied with latex glue so that fibers are secured or remain in place. After this carpet loops are sheared and sculpted as required to present a flat and dense appearance that is comfortable to walk on. To give a hand-tufted rug authentic look, a fringe is added by either sewing or gluing.
This is much faster, less labor-intensive process which does not require any particular skill. The level of complexity that can be achieved in design is unbeatable. It is a great option for custom carpets and rugs where excellence of fiber and a speedy delivery are priorities. These rugs may appear like hand-knotted rugs from the pile side, but are much less durable than hand-knotted rugs. As a result, these rugs cost less than the hand-knotted counterparts.
The hand-tufted rugs are beautiful but latex adhesive may give off noxious petroleum-type odor. Also over time the latex will begin to break down and decay loosening the backing material. You will need to either dispose of the rug or have your rug cleaning professional remove and replace the latex adhesive inside and apply a new backing.
How to tell the difference?
Even though both hand-knotted and hand tufted are hand-woven rugs, but hand-tufted rugs are not entirely made by hand so one must know the difference when purchasing a good quality rug.
Back of the rug
When you flip a hand-knotted rug over, you will see the design on the back, the exact mirror image of the top pile of the rug. You will be able to see and count each individual knot. In contrast, a hand-tufted rug will only have the fabric backing on the back.
In a hand-knotted rug, the fringe is the key to holding the rug together. The wool yarn is hand knotted onto the fringe and the pieces at the end are left for decoration. If the fringe is not there, the rug will unravel and you will have nothing but a pile of yarn. On a tufted rug, the fringe will be sewn or glued on the back.
So now that you know the difference between hand-knotted and hand-tufted rugs, choose your purchase wisely.